Are you last on your to do list?
When was the last time taking care of yourself or doing something only for fun made it to the top of your to to do list?
If your answer is….“a long time ago” or “can’t remember” or maybe “never,” you’re not alone.
From the time we were children, many of us were taught “don’t be selfish” and “think of others.” We may have learned these lessons so well that we are neglecting our own self care. Most folks spend all the hours of their day taking care of others, completing the to-do list, fulfilling obligations, and doing what we “should” do. Taking care of ourselves is last on the list – if it’s even on the list!
The truth is this doesn’t work! If you ignore your own needs long enough you’re likely to become drained, dissatisfied, exhausted, and perhaps even resentful. When you’re not refilling your own personal tank, it becomes increasingly difficult to offer to others. Without recharging you won’t have the energy to be your best self.
You see, self-care is actually about respecting both your body and your mind, and understanding its limits. When you do this, you are able to take care of every part of yourself, in a holistic way.
Put Yourself First
Sadly I see it all too often, with so many of my clients coming to me with empty tanks. They may be busy searching for what they feel is next for them in life, or trying to uncover their life purpose, but all the while neglecting the importance of practising self -care. Only after refueling and recharging themselves are they fully able to create their vision for a deeply satisfying future.
Remember how on an airplane you’re told to place the breathing device on yourself first then help others? In the event of an emergency on the plane, you want to be both present and alive to help and truly be of service to others. You must take care of yourself first. The same is true altogether aspects of our lives.
If you would like to be a happier person, a far better spouse, an excellent parent . . . if you would like to be an honest employee, manager or friend . . . if you would like to try to to what you’re called to try to to , what your purpose in life is . . . whatever it’s you would like to try to to together with your life, begin with yourself.
When you make choices that nourish you and fill you up, you’ll naturally be more generous together with your time, energy, and resources. And you’ll be more ready to create a life you’re keen on . This is healthy selfishness.
Make the Most of Your Self-Care
If this concept is sensible to you your next question could be “What do I need to do to take care of myself?” There are tons of “shoulds” within the area of self-care – eat healthy, exercise, meditate. The list can be long. All of those would be good for us, therefore the question often is “Where to start?”
I recommend a different approach to self-care. To get the foremost impact and therefore the best refueling from your self-care time, do something that “lights you up;” choose an activity that energizes, delights, soothes, or nurtures you.
So what might be some fun, relaxing and enjoyable actions that will “light” you up. The following are some of the activities my clients indulge in regularly to “lighten” their load and relax and recharge. They include getting a massage, planning a weekend away or a brief vacation to their favourite spot, listening to music and singing along, yoga, coffee or dinner with friends, retail therapy ( aka shopping), watching a feel-good movie, reading a good book, and getting out and about in nature. The list is endless and different for every person.
What is it for you?
Take a moment right now to think bout some things you like to do. and go just a little bit further by visualising yourself doing them.
Perhaps these are the things you long to do but never make time to do. Perhaps you think you do not deserve them? The important thing is to take action on these ideas, to get them out of your head and onto your to do list.
Better yet, add a number of these to the top– yes, the very top – of your to-do list. And then do some of them! Notice how you are feeling as you think about enjoying these activities. It is likely your energy increases as you contemplate making the time to try something only for yourself, something that lights you up from the inside out!
So go ahead- be selfish now and then. Put yourself at the very top of your to do list – even if for only one day in the week. Prioritising yourself and your needs might just be the very best thing you’ll do for yourself your family and the people around you. We need to ensure that our well- being is a priority, so that we can best support the people around us and ensure we live our very best life.